Recent blog posts - WebSubstance - Web Design and Search Engine Marketing - Page 5

Increase Web Traffic with a Blog

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Want to add one of the first critical ingredients to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and web visibility success? Make sure your web project has a blog. That's right, one of the first primitive efforts at online content distribution is now a major part of almost any corporate web site across many different industries. Why? Because it works.

You might have all the high-powered social media content that anybody could want, but if you don't have a blog on your site, you're losing out. There are a number of reasons why these simple formats are having a big impact on today's business world.

Benefits of Blogging

One of the simplest reasons to blog is that there aren't any gatekeepers.

When you set up camp on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any one of those new and popular social media sites, you're dealing with that company's infrastructure. Whether it's a profile, a tweet or even an avatar, everything you do conforms to the frameworks that other corporate developers have made. With a blog, you work from a bare-bones web structure and you create the content -- and a lot of the formatting. You don’t have to sign into anything, sign up for anything, or enter little bits of information about yourself into text boxes. You just build it.

Another great reason for maintaining a blog is that it's an interesting, accessible format for both human and non-human readers.

Because of its title and paragraph structure, a blog works well with some of the newest Google algorithms that experts are calling ‘semantic SEO strategy,’ where you get further with organic writing than you do with generic keywords. At the same time, a blog is also a relatable way for people to find out more about your company and your products.

Tips for Better Blogging

When it comes to how to set up your blog the right way, there is no magic bullet, but there are some good guidelines that would apply to most company blogs. You want to have good visuals to dress up your web space for the reader’s eye.

You also want to have good text. How you do this depends on what you're selling, where you’re positioned in the industry (or where you want to be), and what kinds of stories you want to tell to potential customers and anyone who visits your site. Some companies use a breaking news approach, tying newspaper stories or other reports to their industries. Others offer lists of “tips and tricks” for an industry process, or other kinds of educational or “edutainment” post formats. Either way, you want easy, relatable writing that promotes your business -- and of course, the commas and periods have to be in the right place!

WebSubstance can help your company with all of the ins and outs of setting up your blog the right way. We have excellent content programs to create and maintain your blog, along with comprehensive online marketing services. We can help you make sure that you're not missing out on all the organic traffic comes from having a blog tab on menu bar of your site.

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New Year, New Web Site ... More Cowbell!

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So by now you've probably worked off that champagne at the gym, and you're on your way to implementing all of those great New Year's resolutions you made just weeks ago - but what about New Year's resolutions for your web projects?

January can be a time to take a quick look at your web site and see if anything needs improved or updated. Sure, maybe there's nothing “wrong” with your site, but a few easy tweaks or a little redesign may make it a lot more effective, especially as a lot of consumer trends and IT issues continue to change with the changing of the calendar.

Web Site: Photography and the “Winds of Change”

One great place to update your web project is where you need to visualize people, processes, or any kinds of data to an audience.

For example, maybe you are a career professional advertising your own services, or you have an office full of rock stars that you want to promote on the web. Or you’re showing off products. Using stock photos is taking a back seat. It’s the easy way, but it just doesn’t replace getting a good set of professional and unique pictures done. Updating your photography does a number of things for your web site. It brings you into the new year, so that when you or anyone else looks at the site, the viewer is seeing the reality right now. It also allows you to get a second chance at elements like composition and lighting that really make a difference.

Web Functionality

Another place to take a second look at your web site is in the code. Your web site might just need a little bit of something new.

All the time, businesses are scrambling for better web functionality -- they may have implemented new data centers, new cloud computing services, new automated processes or new customer outreach initiatives, all of which may include a need for new widgets or functionality additions to a public web page. You just need professional programmers and designers to get in there and do what they do, building a new space within your web site to help you do more in 2015.

What Should a Modern Web Site Have?

Tech professionals understand the “secret sauce” that makes high-performing web sites so successful. First, a good site has to have responsive design – it has to “play well” on any device and any browser. Superior web sites also need great content – there has to be a hook there, something that gives viewers a reason to visit – and stay. Other vital components to get and keep web traffic include SEO for visibility, and blogging to keep readers engaged and active.

At WebSubstance, we can help you with all of the above, along with comprehensive marketing for your site that will really add to your existing campaigns - we’re all about helping you to optimize your web site. Our skilled team of ‘Internet surgeons’ knows how to slice and dice with HTML5, Cascading Style Sheets and other web technologies to get in there and make your web site the best that it can be. Ask us about special deals and opportunities to get work done to your sites this year!

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Password Security - Keep It Complex!

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Are you a serious risk for account piracy?

If your passwords are things like “1234,” words like “password,” or simple things like your first or last name, you could be at the front of the line for all kinds of hacking and phishing that can easily get into your accounts and wreak havoc there.

Security experts at conferences often show how it's easy to unlock the passwords of significant portions of an audience, just by guessing. Too many of us don't make our passwords complex enough to really secure our data. Whether it's our bank accounts and online banking passwords, our web project access, our health accounts, insurance handling accounts or other online tools, black hats folks are able to steal access from us.

The Fine Line

Some of the major reasons that people get lazy on passwords is because they want to be able to remember those passwords when they click back in days or weeks later. But in some cases, having a weak password can be a lot worse than having to keep password information on hand.

Hackers generally use lexical dictionaries and other data resources to query a password until they get in. They can input a wide range of results, to blanket the system, in order to break the access barriers that are naturally there. Some people have tried to get around this issue by making small changes to their passwords, for instance, uppercasing a letter, or making letters into numbers within a word. The hackers have adapted, and even things like “PA55W0RD” may not be effective.

Real Security Tips

How do you really make a strong password? How do you make sure that you're not leaving the back door open to thieves? First, stay away from using unembellished, plain English words -- or even plain words in other languages. Simple words are very vulnerable, because they can easily be guessed.

To mix it up, add a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, or special characters like a dollar sign, an ampersand, an underscore, or certain kinds of punctuation. Just a few of these inserted into the mix can baffle cyberattackers. You can also use a mixture of numbers and letters, but try to do it in a way that's not logical or transparent. For example, a random two-number tag at the end of the password can add several orders of magnitude in terms of security.

At WebSubstance, we understand how to integrate security into vibrant web projects. Work with us to create sites that look good and work good, too, with common sense safeguards for the dangers of today’s Internet.

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Keep Refreshing Your Site All Year Round

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Lots of us have had that heavy feeling – sitting around the holiday dinner table. You’ve simply eaten too much. You feel like you can’t take another bite – or another step. You’re done for the day. Time to go crawl into bed.

The Internet can be like that. Dense sites with too much topical material that’s difficult to digest are like that rich meal – someone’s throwing something at you all at one time, and it’s too much.

Making your site a great experience takes more than a simple list – it requires some dedication to design and web engineering.

Text Typography and Layout

Some ways that professionals get around a thick or dense site have to do with orienting text on the page. One of the simple commandments for content people is to use bullet lists -- instead of putting lists into “comma form,” which leads to bulky, hard to read paragraphs of close text, it’s often better to write these bits of text in a linear format, which adds whitespace and allows the eye to scan the page more easily.

Designers also alter logos and important bits of text, blowing up letters, creating neat visual shapes, or otherwise using layout to enhance the site.

Another strategy is short paragraphs -- rather than going on for lines and lines, it's better to create short sentences, hit return and move on.

Site Functionality

While good text layout is essential, good design and refreshing content goes well beyond that.

Some of it relies on a more broad-based design process. For example, someone creates a mockup on a piece of paper, showing how to create pages that don't look too crowded.

Then, an expert coder utilizes languages like HTML and CSS to put those ideas into real web code, so that a browser renders them the same way that they were dreamed up.

Adding Visuals

Another easy tip is to add visuals. Although this might sound like it's too simple or a bit of a cliche, it really is effective.

Take a look at any product and services web site that you really liked to click on and scan through. What do these sites have in common? Often, it's quality photography. Whether they use stock photography or their own images, companies that ‘import’ fresh, attractive snapshots of people or places into their sites tend to get a lot more traffic and a lot better retention of the page views that they do get.

Some companies go a step further and embed short texts pieces, like quotes or customer testimony, over top of the images.

All of this makes a web site a place that's “more fun to play in” -- and when you get right down to it, that's really one of the ultimate goals of good web design. You can build anything you want -- but the reader had better have fun while they're taking it in.

See our related blog post about typography

Let WebSubstance help to build a site that’s user-friendly, to keep readers coming back for more, not overwhelmed by bad user interface design. We know how to keep a web site looking fresh and how to keep readers engaged and entertained all the way through your site. And that can make all the difference.

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New Website for Accounting for Tech

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Accounting for Tech provides accounting services and needed a professional and responsive website to replace their existing one.  The design was one of three themes from WS web solutions.  The site is editable by client, and has a contact form.  The layout of the content is clean and easy to read and downloadable documents are easy to find.  This new website will be a helpful tool to Accounting for Tech's clients.

Contact us today for any of the following services you may need:
•    Professional web development
•    Website design for mobile
•    Affordable SEO services
•    Creative graphic design services
•    Professional photography services
•    Web copywriting
•    Online shopping cart solutions

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New Website for Ernest P Chan

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Ernest P Chan is a Computer Generated Artist and was in need of a new website to showcase his portfolio and resume.  Some of the features include: provide free software downloads, video online, rollover before & after on some images, 90% website content editable by client, and a contact form.  These new features will increase the performance of the clients website making it functional as well as visually appealing.

Contact us today for any of the following services you may need:
•    Professional web development
•    Website design for mobile
•    Affordable SEO services
•    Creative graphic design services
•    Professional photography services
•    Web copywriting
•    Online shopping cart solutions

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Is There A Buzz?

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The Internet is like a beehive -- activity coalesces around shared goals and interests. Build a site that appeals to common interests, and you'll build organic readership that's going to trump anything that your SEO team can dream up.

Traditional Search Engine Optimization

As the Internet has evolved, companies have tried all kinds of things to get their sites better rankings and more page views. They scramble to adapt to Google algorithm changes like Panda and Penguin. They fill workshops full of people building the perfect 500-word page with tags, meta-descriptions and more. But not as many of them focus on the core issue of developing a site that people really want to use.

The Long-Form Content Battle

Now, a lot more companies, especially the big dogs with lots of analytical and marketing firepower, are starting to go with a different approach. They're building out editorial newsrooms and using new content methods to show real narratives, and really tell a story for their audiences. They're also cutting closer to the common interests of readers with skilled commentators, experienced testimony, and other forms of writing that show they are really relevant to what's happening today.

How Does It Work?

One example of investing in long-form content is to gauge the interests of the customer base and develop them. Let's take an easy example and look at an auto site. Someone selling auto parts or auto insurance, or anything car-related, can put up a set of carefully keyworded pages for each manufacturer and model type, hoping to garner high Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings. Or, they can take a reporter and go to a show room and have that person actually talk to dealerships and report on what he or she sees.

With the first approach, page rankings can get temporarily pumped up, and the company might get some accidental traffic with people typing hasty Google searches. With this second approach, this site starts to build an actual readership. Other company people can jump in to optimize social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. to start building out, to get more and more people interested in what the site has to say. It's important to know that social media is a great amplifier here -- it's no coincidence that more companies are taking a strong narrative approach now that they have social media departments that can post or tweet out anything that happens on their core web site.

How Do I Build a Good Site and Get Buzz?

Getting interest around your site starts with a creative approach, but it also necessitates good design work. At WebSubstance, we have experience getting a range of clients quality, high-design web projects that are “actionable” -- sites that the company can build on with social media expansion and everything else discussed above. Build your site work on a firm foundation by going with the company with a reputation for excellence in web design and coding, along with extra services like photography and site optimization. We’ll be your partners in constructing something useful and exciting on the web.

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Contact Us

WebSubstance
21800 Town Center Plaza, #266A-281
Sterling, VA 20164
(703) 470-0808
Jenny Le - President
contact.info@WebSubstance.com